Jorge Lorenzo (c) timed his bike switch to perfection to claim victory in a wild MotoGP race at Aragon, beating Aleix Espargaro (l) and Cal Crutchlow (r). Jorge Lorenzo (c) timed his bike switch to perfection to claim victory in a wild MotoGP race at Aragon, beating Aleix Espargaro (l) and Cal Crutchlow (r). Photo courtesy motogp.com

Lorenzo wins chaotic Aragon MotoGP

Written by  on Monday, 29 September 2014 07:36

Jorge Lorenzo took victory in a chaotic dry-wet MotoGP race at Aragon on Sunday, finishing ahead of Aleix Espargaro and Cal Crutchlow on the podium. The race saw drama as Italians Valentino Rossi and Andrea Iannone both suffered big crashes in the dry before Marc Marquez and Dani Pedrosa went down after the rain began to fall.

Lorenzo (Movistar Yamaha MotoGP) took victory by over 10 seconds as he judged the conditions better than his rivals, changing bikes with four laps to go, with Espargaro (NGM Forward Racing) just beating Crutchlow (Ducati Team) to the line to complete the podium. The riders were forced to change to wet set-ups in the final stages after the rain began to fall heavily – having started the race on a drying track.

An excellent start had Lorenzo up into the top three from the second row of the grid almost immediately, able to battle hard with Marc Marquez in the early stages.

Cooler temperatures helped to alleviate the rear grip issues that both Movistar Yamaha MotoGP riders had during the weekend. This confidence in the dry was short lived as spits of rain began to fall, causing Lorenzo to ease off and briefly settle for third.

Lorenzo and the leaders stayed on their slick tires longer than the other riders, risking it in the increasingly wet conditions. A last second decision had the double MotoGP™ World Champion pull into the pits and swap bikes, a crucial choice as Pedrosa and Marquez crashed soon after.

From here Lorenzo managed the gap to win by 10 seconds ahead of Espargaro. Not only is this the Spaniard’s first win of 2014, it is also Yamaha’s first ever victory at the Aragon circuit.

“What a race, unbelievable! Everything happened, our sport is crazy and full of ups and downs,” Lorenzo said. “Today was very positive and you have to be very focused in these conditions. Knowing when to change was very tough and we got some luck to help us out too.

“I gave everything to stay with Marc, it’s a combination of things. The low temperature helped us. Our second tire in Q2 was not good so I knew we were faster. I was able to carry a lot of speed in the corners so I was upset when it started spitting, as I had to roll off and the Hondas pushed ahead. I had settled for third or fourth.

“I saw the time on my board and saw the times were dropping too much, I made a last second decision to swap in the box and we got some luck. I was able to stay comfortable in the wet. Speaking with the team before the race we thought we could get third, never a win. But finally the rain came and there were some crashes and we got some luck despite all our problems.”

A touch with Bradley Smith (Monster Yamaha Tech 3) at Turn 3 on the opening lap sent the elder Espargaro brother wide, resulting in him finishing the first lap last. The subsequent laps saw the Open rider cut through the field and close in on the battle for fifth, featuring his brother Pol.

It was at this point that rain began to fall and the Forward rider took a gamble, the first to enter the pits and change to his wet weather bike. This decision proved to be critical as he was in second as the other riders changed their bikes on the subsequent laps.

Lorenzo was untouchable ahead but a fierce battle with Crutchlow emerged on the final lap. The two riders crossed the line with elbows clashing as neither had full visibility. Fortunately both riders stayed upright and Espargaro came home second, just 0.016s ahead of Crutchlow, becoming the first ever Open class rider to finish on the podium.

An ecstatic Espagaro said, “I’m really proud of this race, it wasn’t easy! We changed the bike fully and didn’t test it in the Warm Up. I got touched by Smith in Turn 3 and I crossed the line last. I had to breathe and overtake a lot of riders, I got up to sixth but then the rain came and we got slower and slower. The rain never really stopped it just kept getting a wetter. I changed one lap before everyone else and this was key.

“It was strange as I had problems with my visor so I couldn’t see anything and I was focusing so hard. I heard Cal’s engine so I thought ‘oh no’ and opened my arms to stop him. He couldn’t change gears as we touched so we got a little lucky because the Ducati has so much power. The last laps were the longest five laps of my life. It’s great for the team and thanks to them and my family.”

Reviewing the race Crutchlow stated, “We got lucky with the conditions. But the first rule of racing when the conditions are like that is to stay on the bike and make no mistakes. We did that and we managed to bring Ducati to the podium. I have to thank them they haven’t given up and I haven’t given up, we are fighting as much as we can.

“I had a not-so-good feeling in the dry at the beginning of the race, but more competitive than at other races this year. So I think it was well deserved for me and for the team that we got the podium. A good battle with Aleix at the end, I tried my hardest, but I have to beat him in the next race. Congratulations to the other two guys on the podium.”

The tricky conditions caused Andrea Dovizioso (Ducati Team) to crash out before swapping to his wet bike and he was taken to the medical centre for checks on a hip trauma.

Repsol Honda teammates Pedrosa and Marquez took a risk staying out in the wet on slick tires in the final laps. Pedrosa fell and remounted to take 14th with Marquez crashing later and finishing 13th after eventually swapping to his wet bike too.

The top five was completed by Stefan Bradl (LCR Honda MotoGP) and Smith as they took advantage of the crashes ahead of them. Smith just beat his teammate Pol Espargaro (Monster Yamaha Tech3) to the line by 0.203s.

The top 10 was completed by Alvaro Bautista (GO&FUN Honda Gresini), Hiroshi Aoyama (Drive M7 Aspar), Nicky Hayden (Drive M7 Aspar) and Scott Redding (GO&FUN Honda Gresini).

Before the rain had fallen Andrea Iannone (Pramac Racing) crashed as he ran wide having led for the opening laps. He looked as though he might stay upright but wet grass sent him skyward.

Rossi (Movistar Yamaha MotoGP) had a similar incident, running wide and touching the grass resulting in a vicious highside. He was taken to the medical center but deemed ok, before being taken to hospital for precautionary head scans.

Karel Abraham (Cardion AB Motoracing) retired with a mechanical problem early in the race.

Maverick Viñales scored an impressive Moto2 victory at the Gran Premio Movistar de Aragon, with Tito Rabat and Johann Zarco also on the rostrum.

Viñales (Paginas Amarillas HP 40) had qualified on pole for the first time since moving up to the Moto2™ class and he registered his second win of an excellent rookie season so far, beating Rabat (Marc VDS Racing Team) to the finish line by 1.285s.

Rabat extended his title advantage to 33 points by taking second position, with Zarco in third and Rabat’s teammate and championship rival Mika Kallio finishing in seventh place - having led in the early stages.

Thomas Luthi (Interwetten Sitag) and Franco Morbidelli (Italtrans Racing Team) were fourth and fifth respectively, crossing the finish line +5.033s and +5.960s behind race winner Viñales.

Romano Fenati judged the conditions best to take victory in the Moto3™ race in tricky conditions, with Alex Marquez and Danny Kent and also on the podium. Marquez and previous championship leader Jack Miller were summoned by Race Direction after contact between the pair saw Miller crash early in the race.

The start of the race had been delayed by mist and fog which disrupted morning Warm Up and although a dry line formed for the Moto3 contest the conditions were difficult for the lightweight class competitors.

Fenati (SKY Racing Team VR46) produced a superb ride from 13th on the grid to win an incident packed race on the last lap, crossing the line 0.057s ahead of Marquez and 0.226s ahead of Kent (Red Bull Husqvarna Ajo).

The result saw Marquez (Estrella Galicia 0,0) take over the championship lead by 11 points with four rounds to go.

Miller and Marquez touched in the early stages with Miller going down as the pair battled for the race lead, with the Australian Red Bull KTM Ajo rider eventually finishing 27th after a second crash.

--From motogp.com

MotoGP Race Results (courtesy Repsol Honda)

Pos.

Rider

Num.

Nation

Points

Team

Constructor

Time/Gap

1

Jorge Lorenzo

99

ESP

25

Movistar Yamaha MotoGP

YAMAHA

44'20.406

2

Aleix Espargaro

41

ESP

20

NGM Mobile Forward Racing

YAMAHA

+10.295

3

Cal Crutchlow

35

GBR

16

Ducati Team

DUCATI

+10.312

4

Stefan Bradl

6

GER

13

LCR Honda MotoGP

HONDA

+11.718

5

Bradley Smith

38

GBR

11

Monster Yamaha Tech 3

YAMAHA

+29.483

6

Pol Espargaro

44

ESP

10

Monster Yamaha Tech 3

YAMAHA

+29.686

7

Alvaro Bautista

19

ESP

9

Go & Fun Honda Gresini

HONDA

+29.763

8

Hiroshi Aoyama

7

JPN

8

Drive M7 Aspar

HONDA

+37.841

9

Nicky Hayden

69

USA

7

Drive M7 Aspar

HONDA

+42.957

10

Scott Redding

45

GBR

6

Go & Fun Honda Gresini

HONDA

+53.937

11

Danilo Petrucci

9

ITA

5

IodaRacing Project

IODA-SUTER

+59.824

12

Alex De Angelis

15

RSM

4

NGM Mobile Forward Racing

YAMAHA

+1'00.718

13

Marc Marquez

93

ESP

3

Repsol Honda Team

HONDA

+1'15.227

14

Dani Pedrosa

26

ESP

2

Repsol Honda Team

HONDA

+1'24.526

15

Yonny Hernandez

68

COL

1

Pramac Racing

DUCATI

+1'38.255

16

Michael Laverty

70

GBR

Paul Bird Motorsport

ART & PBM

+1 lap

17

Mike Di Meglio

63

FRA

Avintia Racing MotoGP

FTR-KAWASAKI

+1 lap

18

Broc Parkes

23

AUS

Paul Bird Motorsport

PBM

+1 lap

19

Hector Barbera

8

ESP

Avintia Racing MotoGP

FTR-KAWASAKI

+1 lap

20

Andrea Dovizioso

4

ITA

Ducati Team

DUCATI

DNF

21

Valentino Rossi

46

ITA

Movistar Yamaha MotoGP

YAMAHA

DNF

22

Andrea Iannone

29

ITA

Pramac Racing

DUCATI

DNF

23

Karel Abraham

17

CZE

Cardion AB Motoracing

HONDA

DNF

MotoGP Point Standings (courtesy Repsol Honda)

Pos.

Rider

Num.

Nation

Points

Team

Constructor

1

Marc Marquez

93

ESP

292

Repsol Honda Team

HONDA

2

Dani Pedrosa

26

ESP

217

Repsol Honda Team

HONDA

3

Valentino Rossi

46

ITA

214

Movistar Yamaha MotoGP

YAMAHA

4

Jorge Lorenzo

99

ESP

202

Movistar Yamaha MotoGP

YAMAHA

5

Andrea Dovizioso

4

ITA

142

Ducati Team

DUCATI

6

Aleix Espargaro

41

ESP

112

NGM Mobile Forward Racing

YAMAHA

7

Pol Espargaro

44

ESP

108

Monster Yamaha Tech 3

YAMAHA

8

Andrea Iannone

29

ITA

92

Pramac Racing

DUCATI

9

Stefan Bradl

6

GER

87

LCR Honda MotoGP

HONDA

10

Bradley Smith

38

GBR

85

Monster Yamaha Tech 3

YAMAHA

11

Alvaro Bautista

19

ESP

73

Go & Fun Honda Gresini

HONDA

12

Cal Crutchlow

35

GBR

63

Ducati Team

DUCATI

13

Scott Redding

45

GBR

60

Go & Fun Honda Gresini

HONDA

14

Hiroshi Aoyama

7

JPN

51

Drive M7 Aspar

HONDA

15

Yonny Hernandez

68

COL

39

Pramac Racing

DUCATI

16

Nicky Hayden

69

USA

36

Drive M7 Aspar

HONDA

17

Karel Abraham

17

CZE

33

Cardion AB Motoracing

HONDA

18

Colin Edwards

5

USA

11

NGM Mobile Forward Racing

YAMAHA

19

Michele Pirro

51

ITA

11

Ducati Team

DUCATI

20

Danilo Petrucci

9

ITA

9

IodaRacing Project

IODA-SUTER

21

Broc Parkes

23

AUS

7

Paul Bird Motorsport

PBM

22

Alex De Angelis

15

RSM

7

NGM Mobile Forward Racing

YAMAHA

23

Mike Di Meglio

63

FRA

4

Avintia Racing MotoGP

FTR-KAWASAKI

24

Michael Laverty

70

GBR

2

Paul Bird Motorsport

ART & PBM

25

Hector Barbera

8

ESP

2

Avintia Racing MotoGP

FTR-KAWASAKI

26

Leon Camier

2

GBR

1

Drive M7 Aspar

HONDA

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